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7 Mass. Nursing Homes Penalized For 'Systemic Failures' That Led To Injury, Deaths

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says the state has reached settlements with seven nursing homes after an investigation found "systemic failures" at the facilities that led to the death or injury of some residents.

About $500,000 in penalties were announced during a news conference Wednesday in Boston. The seven facilities will now be enrolled in strict compliance programs and must undergo safety and quality of care improvements.

Settlements were reached with:

  • Oxford Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Haverhill: $180,000 fine
  • Wakefield Center in Wakefield: $30,000 fine
  • The Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Everett: $40,000 fine
  • Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Westboro: $37,500 fine
  • Jewish Nursing Home of Longmeadow: $85,000 fine
  • Braemoor Health Center in Brockton
  • Woodbriar Health Center in Wilmington

Synergy Health Centers, which owns Braemoor and Woodbriar, is banned from operating in Massachusetts for seven years. Synergy will pay between $100,000 and $200,000 in fines.

"Every senior has the right to quality care, and every family deserves to know their loved one is safe when choosing a long-term care facility," the attorney general said.

In one case, Healey said a resident at Woodbriar fell from a mechanical lift while being transferred. There was only one certified nurse there at the time and staff miscommunicated the injuries and x-ray results. Healey said these factors contributed to her death.

In another case, nursing staff at Braemoor did not attempt to resuscitate a resident who became non-responsive during feeding. The resident died. Healey said staff also failed to report death in a "timely" fashion.

"Our resolutions cannot change what happened or ease the sufferings of families. But we can also be sure these failures don't happen again," Healey said.

The investigation began based on complaints from surveys and also from families of residents who contacted the Department of Public Health.

A substantial amount of the money collected from penalties will go to a DPH fund dedicated to safety and quality in facilities.

"Long-term care facilities must be accountable to the public, and to the commitments made to residents and family members," Healey said.

Anyone who's aware of similar issues with nursing homes should call the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Division at 617-963-2360 or file a complaint through DPH's website.

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